The Gibson Interview: Jeff Beck

Michael Wright

Hot on the heels of a triple-Grammy win and the much-anticipated release of the new CD/DVD/Blu-ray, Rock ’n’ Roll Party (Honoring Les Paul), Jeff Beck is taking his Led Boots back out on the road this year. With dates scheduled for both The Imelda May Band (who accompanied Beck on his Les Paul tribute), and his regular touring band, the guitar god has a full dance card in 2011.

Fortunately, the ever-amiable Beck was kind enough to chat with just as his touring schedule was about to kick into overdrive.

Congratulations on the Grammy wins! I take it you had a good time at the ceremony?

The ceremony is a very long day, but you can’t help but have a good time. You never expect to win any Grammys, so it is always a surprise to hear your name called. The most nerve-wracking part is the acceptance speech, because I am always going to miss out thanking someone. So three more Grammys to add to my collection, thank you very much!

And now, Rock ’n’ Roll Party (Honoring Les Paul) has just been released. What are your memories of those two nights at the Iridium?

It was a crazy few days and I cannot believe the atmosphere in the Iridium and also the people who turned up. I remember we didn’t get too much time to rehearse and that was worrying me the most, especially having the guests join me on stage. The audience seemed to love it and, honestly, I don’t think we could have got a better reaction. Just wish Les had been alive to see it.

How important was it to you, personally, to pay tribute to Les?

Les was an innovator. He created the most incredible sounds and was also my friend. I felt that I wanted to put on a tribute show to him, which I knew he would have appreciated and enjoyed.

It must have been fun making up that set list. You’ve got Les, Hank Marvin, Santo & Johnny… a pretty good excuse to get out the old records.

There are so many songs we could have chosen that, in the end, we had to be strict, otherwise the show would have gone on for hours.

You have some dates coming up with The Imelda May Band. Are you enjoying taking the Rock ’n’ Roll Party on the road?

I think this tour will be a “party” every night. Rock ’n’ roll music is just feel-good and puts a smile on everyone’s face.

Any chance you’ll revisit this material or team up with Imelda’s band in the future?

Who knows what the future holds?

Will any of that material stay in your set as you rejoin your Emotion & Commotion band later this spring? It seems a place like Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium would be perfect for that old timey music.

Well, I have played “How High the Moon” in my set since the 2010 Grammys, so we might keep it in there. The music for Emotion & Commotion seems to fit in anywhere.

Of course, the flip side of it is, you must look forward – at a certain point – to getting back out on the road with that Emotion & Commotion band. Such a killer lineup.

My band and I have had a break since mid-December and I am looking forward to being back on the road with them. Narada [Michael Walden] is a powerhouse with incredible energy, Rhonda [Smith] is phenemonal and I love how she plays and what she gives to every performance, and Jason [Rebello] is great and pushes it on every show. I am looking forward to being back together.

2011 looks to be a pretty busy (potentially exhausting) year for you out on the road. What is it about live performance that keeps luring you back?

Nothing beats a live performance. The audience create the atmosphere and push us to give the best show we can.

The opinions, views, and ideas expressed , do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of the Guitar Society. Send all thoughts, comments, disagreements, and rants to 


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